Five Steps to Get Back into Your Fitness RoutineExpand
Let's say you won the lottery tomorrow. You'd be pretty fucking happy, right? Of course you would.
But that happiness fades away quickly. As it turns out, research shows that you probably wouldn't be happier than the average person, and only marginally happier than someone who was paralyzed in an accident (if they were already a happy person).
When it comes to happiness, us human beings are equally incredibly resilient and stubborn. We are always establishing a new baseline of happiness, and I see this in my clients all the time.
One client went from dumbbell chest pressing 40lbs to 100lbs in a few short months. (Honestly, there were some amazing genetics at play here, since that took me a total of three years.) Yet, after a short break he was incredibly displeased that he could only do 80lbs.
When you focus on how much you "once could do," you idealize your past similar to the paralyzed individuals in the study above. (I really don't mean to equate losing 20lbs on your bench press to becoming paralyzed, rather than display what happens when you idealize your past.)
Idealizing the past will lead to preemptive feelings of defeat, hopelessness, and self-hate.
But this can be prevented by showing a sense of gratitude. Take a step back. Think about how far you've come and how much work you put in to get there.
If you show a sense of gratitude with your progress to-date, you no longer focus on the 100lbs that you used to do, but the 40lb increase that you've accomplished. When you do that, you can again focus on continued growth rather than previous glory.